Sunday, May 19, 2013

Forget STEM, I'm on team STEAM

Project H Design wrote:
Integrating science, technology, engineering, arts, and math (STEAM) skills, Studio G projects build confidence, grit, and the belief that everything is possible in life and in the world.
That's exactly what I think has been missing in the entire STEM debate, an explicit recognition that creativity is an integral part of design and problem-solving in all fields.

This gives a whole new meaning to STEAMpunk.

High school students in Bertie County (NC) designed and built this farm stand.  Read more about the program and how the hostility from NC school officials has driven Project H out of NC to more friendly Berkeley, CA.

In other news, our local schools have just completed STAR testing.  How about your local districts?

I've been thinking about the point of STAR testing and how it has been perverted/subverted over the years.  I am so glad that this is the last year our state has to go through this farce.  But, I don't know how the common core will be implemented.


  1. When they did those tests here, the schools would cherry pick certain students to take the tests. Jackson is convinced that's how he got so good at test taking. I told him once that MY mother encouraged me to see how quickly I could finish a test(accurately of course) and it was then a competition with him. I followed your example and asked our local school if they wanted some scraps,they said OMGyes. I made a box with scraps plus ric rac and ribbon. The teacher said they were adopting me.

  2. I agree with your point about the need for art along with STEM!!

  3. Really, this is our last year???? Yippee! Jack never has to do it. Cool! And I love the STEAM!

  4. @LHC Schools have less leeway in cherry-picking students who can take the test.

    Look at the statewide results:

    Then click on return to search at the top left and select school by school. Note that the % of students that take STAR tests have gone up from ~90% to ~99%?

    That's b/c school are punished for the # of kids that skip the test. This prevents some schools from playing the cherry-picking game you mentioned.

  5. @SEWN CA is joining the rest of the nation in moving towards the common core.

    Next year, STAR testing will be only for math and English. After that, we'll transition fully to the CC.

    I'll give you a concrete example of a change you will see in the Geometry (8-10th graders) test:

    Right now, STAR tests will present a geometric proof with one step missing. Students select from among 4-5 choices for the *right* step to complete the proof.

    Under the CC, kids will read a proof and then explain whether it is right or wrong. If it is wrong, they must explain where the proof went wrong and write a correct proof.

    It's much cheaper to score a multiple choice test than to read proofs written by 408,000 students (the # who took the STAR test in geometry in 2012).

    Please note that CA has among the most aggressive (advanced) curriculum. So even kids that are failing or a year or two behind would be on track in many other states--especially those in the SE US.

    If your kids are lucky enough to be in a school that is able to keep to the aggressive schedule, then they are way ahead of all but a handful of other states.

    CA's current standards are a year ahead of what we did a generation ago.


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